Why Jesus Is King Is a Track-for-Track Remake of Yeezus

From a post by u/_me_hoy_minoy_ on Reddit

In an earlier incarnation, Kanye West’s most recent album was called Yandhi and billed as the sequel to Yeezus. This was not to be. “Everybody wanted Yandhi, but Jesus Christ did the laundry,” Kanye explains early in the album we did end up getting, Jesus is King. The changeup left many fans (understandably) blindsided. But as enticing as the idea of a Yeezus sequel was, we should have known better than to take Kanye at his word. Since Yeezus, his harsh and confrontational left turn away from the revered My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (“Soon as they like you, make ’em unlike you”), each new album rollout has been more chaotic and unpredictable than the last. Look at the leadup to 2017’s The Life of Pablo: three scrapped titles (I’m still holding out hope for Turbo Grafx 16) and at least as many variations of the track list, all scribbled in Sharpie on a piece of looseleaf and blasted out on Twitter. And let’s not even get into the infamous (though underrated) ye, for which Kanye supposedly snapped the cover art on his iPhone the night before release.

The point being, it would be baseless to expect continuity of any kind among Kanye’s recent albums. However, if we move past promotional spectacles and dig deeper into Jesus is King, we realize that Kanye did not entirely go back on his word after promising us a Yeezus sequel. Not exactly.

Consider the album titles. Jesus is King is not an obvious play on “Yeezus” as “Yandhi” was, but the titles still share an allusion to Jesus Christ. While the word “Yeezus” remakes the son of God’s name in service of Kanye’s self-aggrandizement, however, the phrase “Jesus is King” glorifies Him. The difference is telling. Yeezus provides a window into Kanye’s extremely hedonistic lifestyle at the time — highlighting, in a sense, his various attempts to play or feel like God. On the other hand, Kanye preaches traditional Christianity on Jesus is King, emphasizing humility and religious devotion above all else and doing away with vulgarity (there’s no profanity on the entire album). In this way, the two albums share a conceptual starting point, but they go on from that point to explore quite different themes.

The covers of the two albums also embody this unique relationship. Jesus is King uses the same postmodern gambit as Yeezus: a picture of the physical disc instead of traditional album art. This time the image is a vinyl instead of a CD, but this is only fitting: just as an analog vinyl record sounds warmer than digital CD audio, Jesus is King’s gospel-inspired arrangements make for a cozier sound than Yeezus’s harsh industrialism.

So we have a shift from pride to humility, indulgence to restraint, abrasion to warmth. It’s tempting to stop there, to claim Jesus is King is just a move away from Yeezus in a purer direction, and that the two are otherwise unrelated. But when we peel away the clear differences between the two albums, we find that the sonic and thematic throughlines among their 10 songs run a remarkably similar course. These commonalities are too numerous to ignore. Jesus is King is more than just a turnabout from Yeezus. Much like its cover, the album is a turnabout that uses the same structural template. It is a track-for-track remake.

Granted, the mapping of tracks is not quite seamless. Technically, Jesus is King has 11 tracks if you count the 49-second coda “Jesus is Lord”. And due to a questionable sequencing decision in the back half of Jesus is King, the one-to-one relationship doesn’t quite hold. Wrinkles aside, we can find a remarkable alignment between these two short, relatively polarizing Kanye albums. They’ve drawn ire for different reasons — Yeezus for its hairpin turn away from Fantasy’s lush, symphonic pop songcraft to abrasive industrial and drill sounds, Jesus is King for its hairpin turn away from the promise of Yandhi to a promise to the Lord — but both albums are pointed refutations of audience expectations. Kanye has never been one to pander — he specializes in vocally doing the opposite. The difference with Jesus is King is that it’s not strictly left field, it’s a play on a truly left field project that came before. Formally, Yeezus had no precedents in Kanye’s discography, but it is the precedent for Jesus is King. Though Kanye’s latest album is a radical pivot in persona and subject matter, it borrows Yeezus’ form and suits it to its own thematic needs. The evidence is there in every track.

But before we dive in, we should address two elephants in the room. First, these albums are not of equal artistic merit. While not a bad album, Jesus is King is Kanye’s worst to date — not because of the religious content but because of its paltry run time (at 27 minutes, short enough to be an EP) and overall unfinished feel. Most of the songs sound like either sketches of ideas worth fleshing out further (“Water”), or weaker versions of their earlier Yandhi incarnations (“Selah,” “Everything We Need”). Tellingly, the two best songs, “God Is” and “Use This Gospel,” are also the two longest. But neither measures up to the strongest material on Kanye’s other albums. Even ye had “Ghost Town.” On the other hand, the innovative Yeezus has evolved into a minor classic in Kanye’s discography, singularly brilliant if a shade below Fantasy, College Dropout and Late Registration (though many fans would beg to differ.)

The second, thornier consideration is whether Kanye will persist in his public overtures to Christian dogma. As of this writing, he’s still going strong — we need look no further than his 2020 Presidential run. Kanye took to Twitter to announce his campaign on the Fourth of July (“#2020VISION”) and managed to get his name on the ballot in 12 states for 60,000 votes. Perhaps the most absurd point in this bizarre and troubling development came during his campaign rally in South Carolina back in July. His speech rises in emotional pitch as he recounts how Kim almost aborted their first child, North (“I almost killed my daughter!” he wails), and he goes on to tearfully claim that his father wanted to abort him as well. His sole policy proposal was that abortion should be legal, but “everybody who has a baby gets a million dollars, or something like that.” His campaign site features a Bible verse for each of 10 vague policy goals, the first of which is to “restore faith and revive our constitutional commitment to freedom of religion and the free exercise of one’s faith, demonstrated by restoring prayer in the classroom including spiritual foundations.”

So it would seem that Kanye stands by the piety he projects on Jesus is King. But for how long? His embrace of evangelical Christianity is the latest in a long series of stark shifts in direction. I find it very hard to believe there won’t be another one. But whether or not there is, our only access to Kanye the man is through the prisms of his public appearances and his art, which are enlightening in their own ways, but of course hardly useful in gaining definitive insight into who he is as a person. That’s the main reason why I’ll focus on the music. We can’t know whether Kanye’s newfound zeal for Christianity is authentic, or just another artistic suit he’ll wear for a time before trying on something new. But we don’t need that knowledge to analyze his albums and draw comparisons between them.

So if you’re turned off by Kanye’s histrionics, you’re not alone. I invite you to join me in absorbing his art instead, even a minor album like Jesus is King. To admit that it’s Kanye’s worst is hardly to pass a negative judgment. The production is top-notch as ever, and I don’t begrudge him for making such a jarring thematic and stylistic shift. After the maligned ye, he needed a jolt. It would be foolish to predict what will come next — hard to say if “Nah Nah Nah” bodes well or ill. But I digress…

From the Daily Beast

“Every Hour” | “On Sight”

These two tracks have the exact same function as album openers: they make it clear that Kanye will be going in. “Yeezy season approaching, fuck whatever y’all been hearing,” opens “On Sight.” Compare that to “Sing every hour, every minute, every second, sing each and every millisecond,” and we see that unbridled urgency is the thread connecting these two sonically disparate openers.

The sonic difference starts to break down on a closer listen, too. Even the Sunday Service choir’s soulful strength can’t eclipse “Every Hour”’s woozily distorted stabs of piano, in the same way that Daft Punk’s blown-out synths demand to be heard above Kanye’s crass provocations in “On Sight.” Neither of these songs waste a minute in conveying their respective albums’ thematic and sonic signatures. Both do it in a small dose distilled for maximum potency, with restlessness and repetition that prefigure Kanye’s single-minded pursuit of those themes and sounds for the rest of the album.

“Selah” | “Black Skinhead”

Here’s where the mythologizing starts. Both songs use scenes from antiquity (however idiosyncratically rendered) as touchpoints for us to understand how Kanye sees himself. It would be a stretch to call it introspection — that will come in “Follow God | “I Am a God.” But it’s less of an assault than “Every Hour | On Sight” and more of an explanation. Both “Selah” and “Black Skinhead” deal with Kanye’s determination to break out of toxic cultural molds (not an uncommon theme in his music) and they use the same mode of comparison to historical figures. In “Selah” he compares himself to Noah, in “Black Skinhead” it’s “the Romans.” In the book of Genesis, Noah built an ark big enough for all the world’s animals despite being ridiculed for it, and in 480 B.C. a contingent of three hundred “Roman” (Spartan) soldiers managed a much-lionized last stand against the massive Persian army at Thermopylae. Both lines allude to heroes on an epic mission against all odds, bolstered by powerful internal forces. Both songs have martial, percussive production that reinforces that mythologized sense of purpose. Whether it’s “Four in the morning, and I’m zoning” or “won’t be in bondage to any man,” Kanye is on an unstoppable crusade to the beat of his own sonic and proverbial drum.

“Follow God” | “I Am a God”

In the third track, Kanye pivots from comparing himself to historical figures to comparing himself to God. The comparison is more complicated than the self-aggrandizement we saw in “Selah | Black Skinhead”, though. In “Follow God | I Am a God,” Kanye starts by suggesting that it’s other people (i.e. his fans and the media) who regard him as divine, but only when he’s giving them what they want. “This is like a movie but it’s really very lifelike, every single fight, right? Every single night, right?…Only ever seein’ me only when they needin’ me.” It’s all too much for a mortal man to take. In “I Am a God” he expresses the same idea with a bit more of an edge: “Soon as they like you make ’em unlike you / ’Cause kissing people ass is so unlike you / The only rapper compared to Michael / So here’s a few hatin’-ass n***** to fight you.”

Ye responds to the pressure by retreating from vulnerability mid-song and reaffirming his commitment to his personal mission a lá “Selah | Black Skinhead.” “I’m just tryna find, I’ve been looking for a new way / I’m just really trying not to really do the fool way / I don’t have a cool way being on my best, though / Block ’em on the text though, nothing else next though” is his mission statement in “Follow God.” Kanye’s pivot to evangelical Christianity has drawn plenty of ire, but he’s determined to shut the detractors out. Similarly, in “I Am a God” Ye doubles down on his “religion” at the time of Yeezus: pure hedonism. “I am a God,” he repeats three times with a choked scream at the end of the song. To hammer the point home, Justin Vernon comes in with “Ain’t no way I’m giving up, I’m a God.” Just like that, we’re back to dealing in absolutes.

“Closed On Sunday” | “New Slaves”

In which Kanye broadens his focus from himself to the social sphere. He locates two societal ills — secular temptation in “Closed On Sunday” and institutional racism in “New Slaves” — and advocates rebellion against both using similar language. Just as Kanye won’t let the mores of high fashion consumerism turn him into a “new slave,” he likens his religious awakening to “no more living for the culture, we nobody’s slave.” Kanye ends both songs by personifying their respective evils and taking shots at those responsible. “Jezebel won’t even stand a chance,” he proclaims triumphantly, in reference to Queen Jezebel, the lascivious wife of Ahab in the Old Testament (and, not coincidentally, a fitting embodiment of his persona on Yeezus.) In parallel, though cruder, terms, he goes for the jugulars of the rich white people in charge of the DEA and the CCA holed up in luxury homes: “Fuck you and your Hampton house / I’ll fuck your Hampton spouse / Came on her Hampton blouse / And in her Hampton mouth.” Never a man to mince words.

“On God” | “Hold My Liquor” & “Everything We Need” | “I’m In It”

Here the parallels become less obvious. “On God” and “Everything We Need” are straight-ahead spirituals, while “Hold My Liquor” and “I’m In It” are depraved chronicles of emotional dysfunction and sexual abandon, respectively. But these two albums are still running the same course. This is where they both kick into gear. “Hold My Liquor” and “I’m In It” mark Ye’s descent into the core of Yeezus’ debauchery, while “On God” and “Everything We Need” streamline his focus on his newfound religious devotion. And while it’s not the first time on the album that he professes his absolute faith in Christ, it is the first time that he situates that piety in the broader context of his life, framing it as the legitimate next step in his journey rather than a passing whim (“When I though the Book of Job was a job / The devil had my soul, I can’t lie.”) Even the song title is a slang term for “I’m being serious.”

If there’s any remaining doubt, there’s certainly no trace to be found in the next track. As its title suggests, “Everything We Need” is an ode to fulfilment. There was a storm inside that’s passed, and Kanye’s ready for a new beginning. To confirm that the devil no longer has his soul, he references the outcome of Adam and Eve’s temptation in the Garden of Eden: “What if Eve made apple juice? / You gon’ do what Adam do? / Or say, ‘Baby, let’s put this back on the tree’? / ’Cause we have everything we need.” The reversal is classic Kanye, a great image used to show (rather than tell) that even Satan can’t sway him now. Energetic oo-ooh’s and a Ty Dolla $ign chorus are the icing on the cake.

Just like “On God,” “Hold My Liquor” marks a thematic realization. But rather than an embrace of divine grace, we get a submission to profligate desire. The song recounts an emotionally fraught, hungover visit to an old flame’s house in which Kanye spews his less than pure sexual feelings (“One more hit and I can own ya / One more fuck and I can own ya”) over an atonal synth that cuts like a bad headache. “You say you know me my n****,” says Chief Keef, “But you really just know the old me.”

“I’m In It” gives us a formal introduction to the new Kanye. The idea of College Dropout-era Ye saying anything close to “Careless whispers, eye fucking, biting ass / Neck, ears, hair, legs, eating ass,” “Eating Asian pussy, all I need was sweet and sour sauce,” or the immortal “Put my fist in her like a civil rights sign” simply doesn’t compute. The song is a cartoonish cornucopia of sexual one-liners that gives a giant middle finger to any kind of structure. It’s more fun than “Hold My Liquor,” just as “Everything We Need” is easier to groove to than “On God.” And like “Everything We Need,” it’s ultimately a song about fulfillment. The word “need” appears in the lyrics no less than seven times. Just as “Everything We Need” confirms Kanye’s conviction in “On God”’ that Christ is necessary and sufficient, “I’m In It” confirms his feeling in “Hold My Liquor” that uninhibited sexual pleasure is the alpha and the omega.

From Freshness Mag

“Water” | “Blood On the Leaves”

Having fully settled into our respective themes, here’s where things start to get a bit more abstract. The emotions expressed in these songs couldn’t be more different. But there is an unmistakable resonance between the songs’ guiding symbols: blood and water.

The title “Blood On the Leaves”, sampled throughout the track, is sourced from Billie Holiday’s 1939 classic “Strange Fruit” (though the sample comes from Nina Simone’s 1965 cover). “Strange Fruit” is a shocking and important song in American history, painting an inventive and deeply unsettling picture of African-American lynching in just twelve lines. “Blood On the Leaves”, meanwhile, deals in no uncertain terms with the intemperate onset and ugly dissolution of a romantic relationship, recalling “I’m In It” and “Hold My Liquor” and foreshadowing “Guilt Trip”. It’s less clear how the historically loaded phrase “blood on the leaves” ties into this narrative, especially since the song doesn’t explore racist brutality directly. We can see it as Kanye’s nod to the continuity of his distinct set of problems as a wealthy black man in America with the problems of less privileged black Americans who have been victimized by unspeakable violence — an idea he makes more explicit in “New Slaves”: “You see it’s broke n**** racism, that’s that ‘Don’t touch anything in the store’, and it’s rich n**** racism, that’s that ‘Come in, please buy more’…I know that we the new slaves, I see the blood on the leaves.” Even as he chases his girl “running naked down the lobby” of a luxury hotel after she “tried her first molly,” Kanye is inseparable from history. He drives the point home toward the end of the song: “Now you sitting courtside, wifey on the other side, gotta keep ’em separated, I call that apartheid.” Through all the glitter and glitz of Kanye’s modern life, we can still see the blood.

In “Water”, water, rather than blood, becomes the guiding symbol. In contrast to “Blood On the Leaves”, with its chronicle of drug-fueled bitterness and heartbreak set against the tainted history of American racism as embodied by blood, “Water” celebrates the purity that faith in Christ brings by comparing it to water. Granted, “Water” is much slighter than “Blood On the Leaves” lyrically, light on allusions and almost mantric in its simplicity (see the second verse, consisting of only a series of short, rapid-fire exhortations to Jesus). But when placed in the context of Christianity, water has enough significance to make such lyrical padding unnecessary. Most notable is water’s role in baptism, the sacrament of initiation into the Christian faith that also connotes rebirth. It’s this idea of rebirth that’s key to understanding “Water” as a response to “Blood On the Leaves”. The latter portrays a man unavoidably steeped in a bloody, unjust history while he navigates the modern world as a rich black American man governed by hedonism and secular temptation. The former gives us a man who’s since rejected that path and made an attempt to purify himself through Christian faith. In “Blood On the Leaves” Kanye is angry, anxious and confused, and his go-to outlets of sex and drugs are no longer allaying those feelings. In “Water” Kanye is serene and humble, having found a much more enduring wellspring of purpose and joy in Christ. “I promise I’m not hiding anything,” Ant Clemons insists, as if to underscore Kanye’s newfound contentment as a man reborn.

“Hands On | “Guilt Trip”

Stay with me here. This is the first wrinkle in our one-to-one mapping — owing to a structural flaw in Jesus is King more than anything else. It’s regrettable that Kanye chose to put “God Is” before “Hands On” and not the other way around. “God Is” is pure catharsis, the perfect penultimate track. Here it comes too early — it needs the ruminations and doubts of “Hands On” to build it up, and it would be a smoother lead-in to the parting sentiments of “Use This Gospel.” And “Hands On” feels like an awkward resistance to the album’s natural flow: why would Kanye suddenly get defensive about public perception of his newfound faith after practically losing his voice in full-throated praise of his Lord and Savior? By comparison, “Guilt Trip” into “Send It Up” is a more logical progression, a rumination on the bitterness and heartbreak dramatized in “Blood On the Leaves” before a grimy late-night release at the club. One of many signs that Yeezus is a better album than Jesus is King. To be fair, the remake is rarely better than the original.

But let’s pretend that Kanye got it right, and that “Water” flows into “Hands On.” Now we have a mirror image of the transition from “Blood On the Leaves” to “Guilt Trip.” In both cases, the production becomes more minimal, the lyrics flecked with doubt and melancholy. Kanye’s stance on the Christian community (“They’d be the first ones to judge me / Make it feel like nobody love me”) is not unlike his attitude toward the lost lover in “Guilt Trip” (“And I’m feeling it right now / ’Cause it’s the time when my heart got shot down”) — restrained, but with more than a little hurt seeping through. His first instinct is not to wallow. “Blocka, blocka, blocka-blocka, blocka / Pour a little champagne, cranberry vodka,” he spits percussively after confessing his heartbreak, determined to kill the pain and write the woman off as just another notch in his belt. It seems to work (“On to the next saga / Focus on the future and let the crew knock her”) until Kid Cudi, who often functions as a voice pouring out from deep within Kanye, gives us the melismatic clincher: “If you love me so much then why’d you let me go?”, stretching that last word as far as it can go before it melts into an industrial synth.

“Hands On” has the same emotional progression, swinging between hurt that the Christian community at large does not accept him and defiance of that very same judgment. After calling out the Christians, he’s quick to reaffirm the legitimacy of his faith: “We get called halfway believers / Only halfway read Ephesians / Only if they knew what I knew, uh / I was never new ’til I knew of / True and living God Yeshua.” The references to the Book of Ephesians (which deals with the effect of the Gospel stories on people’s daily lives) and to Jesus’ real Jewish name, Yeshua, lend some measure of authenticity to Kanye’s belief. They’re a rebuke to those who see themselves as gatekeepers of “true” Christianity and would exclude Kanye from taking part.

But then, just as Cudi offers a more vulnerable sentiment in “Guilt Trip,” gospel singer Fred Hammond comes in with these surprising lines: “I deserve all the criticism you got…Yes I understand your reluctancy, yeah / But I have a request, you see / Don’t throw me up, lay your hands on me / Please pray for me.” Defiance makes way for a rare concession — since when does Kanye admit to understanding his detractors’ stances on anything? — and an appeal that sounds almost desperate with Hammond’s high-pitched delivery. Before a final repetition of the chorus, the last words are a whispered punctuation from Hammond: “Somebody pray for me.”

“God Is” | “Send It Up”

We should have known that wouldn’t be necessary. “God Is” finds Kanye tossing rap aside entirely, running his singing voice ragged over an equally impassioned gospel choir and a sample of Rev. James Cleveland’s 1979 song of the same name. In “Send It Up,” Kanye and fellow Chicago rapper King Louie team up for an aggressive ode to extravagance and lust in which “Guilt Trip” is a distant memory.

“God Is” is the closest Kanye gets to traditional gospel music on the album, with the possible exception of “Every Hour.” But while that song was frantic, determined to drill the purpose of Jesus is King into the listener’s head quickly, “God Is” builds up, clocking in at almost twice the length. Kanye earns that raspy vocal delivery at the end. By this point, he’s exhausted all his flourishes. No more comparisons to John or Abraham, no more symbols. “This a mission not a show, this is my eternal soul.” You can really hear it in his singing, so much so that when he says “Thank you, Jesus, won the fight” at the end, all thoughts of his livewire public persona fall by the wayside.

“Send It Up” is also the sound and story of pure release. The phrase “send it up” is a Chicago slang term loaded with aggression and expressing readiness for confrontation. That sentiment comes through in the production and the lyrics. There’s no time for twisted tales of lost love or politically charged sexual metaphors. Instead we get “Rock star, bitch, call me Elvis.” King Louie’s verse lays everything out. “Success got ’em jealous. Last night my bitches came in twos. And they both sucked like they came to lose.” This is not a deep or introspective song. This is “the cray-est shit in the club since ‘In Da Club,’” and it’s all the better for it. Like “God Is,” it’s essentially a stretched-out version of the album opener. We get party-minded electronic tones altered to a point of unpleasantness — like Daft Punk’s anti-Skrillex sirens in “On Sight,” but at a slower tempo. It’s less in-your-face, though not by much. In his relatively short verse, Kanye gives us a few details of a night out, including an abrasive exchange that might be the funniest moment on Yeezus: “She said, ‘Can you get my friends in the club?’” / I said, ‘Can you get my Benz in the club? / ‘If not, treat your friends like my Benz / Park they ass outside ’til the evening end.” Come hell or high water, Ye will keep on dancing.

“Use This Gospel” | “Bound 2”

We’ve come a long way, and it’s time to take stock of where we’ve been. Both closers are reflective, sonically alike in their easy pace (almost the exact same tempo) and thematically alike in their optimism. “Bound 2” is a measured look at the litany of perceived moral failings Kanye has discussed throughout Yeezus, and a first-time glimpse at the possibility of redemption. “Use This Gospel” is partly a “tl;dr” for Jesus is King, sketching familiar ideas of struggle (“It’s a hard road to heaven”) and humility (“In the Father we put our faith”) and partly a showcase for the reunion of one of hip-hop’s most celebrated duos in Clipse — an expression of redemption in its own right. Gone are the militant exigencies of “On Sight” and “Every Hour.” “Bound 2” and “Use This Gospel” are victory laps at an easy pace, devoid of the zeal that came before.

This comes through in the music. Both songs manage to snake seamlessly from hooks to verses despite disruptive shifts between sections at odd times. Take the transition from No Malice’s verse in “Use This Gospel” to Kenny G’s sax solo. All other backing vocals and instrumentation suddenly drop out when Kenny G starts playing, and his first note isn’t quite in time — the silence lasts maybe a quarter of a beat too long. When the music returns after the solo, it’s with an 808-fueled backbeat that we haven’t heard before. Though awkward on paper, these imperfections create a natural feel. We get a sense of easy camaraderie among Kanye, Pusha-T, No Malice and Kenny-G, a window into four musicians riffing with unhurried ease.

“Bound 2” has that same shambolic grace. The spine of the song is a sample of Ponderosa Twins Plus One’s 1971 soul single “Bound”. Kanye pitches the chorus up and mixes its psychedelic guitar chimes down to make more room for the bass, but the song’s off-kilter harmonies and honeyed, narcotized feel are preserved. As with “Use This Gospel,” though, it doesn’t quite make sense that “Bound 2” sounds so smooth. Charlie Wilson’s soulful chorus has no musical commonalities with the verses and interrupts Kanye’s rapping mid-word. In turn, the “uh-huh honey” sample plucked from Brenda Lee’s “Sweet Nothin’s”, which acts as a sonic punctuation mark throughout the song, brings back the verse by cutting Charlie Wilson off. It’s a creative arrangement that only someone with Kanye’s long history of crate-digging experimentation and deep knowledge of soul music could thread together.

Kanye doesn’t tread any new lyrical ground in “Use This Gospel.” He gives twice as much time for Pusha-T and No Malice to air their thoughts on faith and their personal journeys as he allows for himself. After all, he’s said his piece in the previous 9 tracks. The song is less a statement than a wind-down. Similarly, “Bound 2” is the after-party to club banger “Send It Up,” with lyrics that point toward rest and the possibility of monogamous contentment. “And hey, ayo we made it to Thanksgiving / So aye, maybe we can make it to Christmas” is a touching, unguarded expression of hope for his then-fledgling relationship with Kim Kardashian, a line that would have stuck out on any previous song. Charlie Wilson’s chorus takes that sentiment to sublime heights: “I know you’re tired of lovin’ with nobody to love.” As of this writing, Kanye and Kim are still together.

“Jesus is Lord”

Because the party may be over, but the Good News never ends.

Ex-magician, still knows the tricks